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Your baby's high chair - all you need to know

When your little one is born, a high chair probably isn’t going to be at the top of your list of things to buy. However, you’ll be shocked at how fast your baby grows and how quickly you’ll need new things for them. When you start to introduce foods like purees and possibly more solid foods, your baby will require a high chair. Trying to hold and feed them at the same time won’t be easy! 

It’s great to get an insight into what high chair will be best for your baby and what to look for when you’re purchasing one. As well as commonly asked questions, you will also be able to find popular highchairs picked by us that you can purchase online. 

What is a high chair?

A high chair is as simple as it sounds. It’s a chair with longer legs which elevates the chair. They also come with a fitted tray. Your little one won’t be able to sit on a chair straight away when they move to the table for mealtimes. Firstly, they are too small and won’t be able to reach the table or even see over it properly. Secondly, your child will most likely need some help with easting still and a highchair makes this much easier to do. They also keep your little one strapped in a safe whilst they eat or drink.

Parents don’t just use a highchair for mealtimes. They are also great for when you need to put your baby somewhere where they won’t be able to escape and have you running around the house. The tray makes it easy to put toys or books on to keep them engaged whilst you are busy with something else. But when is the right time to put your baby in a highchair?

High chairs are often raised to a height where it is comfortable for parents to feed their baby. This makes them easy and accessible for everyone. If you suffer from back problems or have trouble bending down, High chairs are great as they're already at your level.

Not only are they handy for you, they also teach your baby how they should behave at mealtimes. Getting your little one into a routine of sitting still at a table during dinner time is a great move.

high chair

When can a baby sit in a high chair?

One important thing to remember with any new equipment for your baby is that every baby is different. Those means that some may require them sooner whereas others may take a little longer. This can come down to many things such as your little ones size or their stage of development. However, on average, parents can expect their child to be ready for a highchair by around 4 to 6 months old.

Moving your baby to a highchair can be a big milestone. Firstly, it can give parents more independence and allow their baby to sit safely whilst they get on with tasks like making dinner. It’s also a great way for the whole family to bond. Whereas before your baby might have been put to bed before dinner, you can now all sit round a table and enjoy eating together.

If you’re wondering if your baby is ready for a highchair, you can look for these simple signs:

  • They can sit up well with little support. This means they will be able to support their own weight whilst sitting up. If you find your little one is swaying a lot when they're sitting or they regularly fall back - this means they aren't ready yet.
  • Good stability and control when seated. As we mentioned, your baby should be able to sit comfortably. They should also be able to move their arms and hands without losing their balance.
  • Holding their head up comfortably. As well as their core, your baby's neck muscles also need to be developed and strong enough. When in a high chair, there will be minimal support for your baby's head and therefore, they will need to hold it up on their own. If you see that they are struggling to hold their own head up or it keeps flopping to one side - you should wait a little longer.

If your baby is between 4 to 6 months, they will most likely be able to do all of these and you can move them into their highchair. However, if you feel that your baby cannot hold themselves up properly yet, give it a little longer. Just because your baby does not move into a highchair when other people’s children do, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong. All babies develop at different stages and some may take slightly longer to strengthen their muscles. It's important that if you're ever concerned about your baby's stability, you should see a peadatrician.

If you want to move to a highchair earlier but know that your baby cannot sit upright yet, you should look into reclining highchairs. These are designed for younger babies but can also be sat up for future use. This means you can get plenty of use out of it throughout their development. Reclining high chairs give you the options to feed your baby whilst their laying down - this is handy when they are still being bottle fed. As your baby develops, you can bring the seat up and start feeding them normally.

What can a highchair be used for?

Reclining and normal high chairs can be great for many reasons. If you’re thinking about getting one but aren’t sure how much use you’ll get out of it – let us enlighten you:

  • Use as a resting place for your baby – this is convenient as it will already be downstairs.
  • Make prepping dinner easier – leave your little one safe in their highchair whilst you do what you need to.
  • Trying to eat dinner but also need to feed your baby? A highchair makes it much easier to do something with one hand and something else with the other.
  • If you have any health problems that makes it difficult to hold your baby, a reclining highchair can be used for feeding times to take the pressure off of you.

High chairs are a safe space for your little one where they can be strapped in and monitored whilst your busy. To keep them amused, you can give them small toys which they can play with on the tray.

high chair

Is a highchair necessary?

When it comes to baby items, all parents are different and we don’t all need the same things. However, as you watch your little one grow up, it gets easier to see the things they can and can’t do. This can help you work out whether you really need certain items. The same applies for highchairs. Although they are classed as an essential item on some websites, parents can live without them. 

There are some things to consider when deciding whether a highchair is necessary for your baby.

  • Safety

The most important thing for you little one is keeping them safe throughout their development. Highchairs are designed to keep a baby strapped in and secure with no risk of falling out or being able to climb out. Safety is something you must take extremely seriously when deciding whether to buy a highchair.

There are other options to use at mealtimes such as a swing, bouncy chair or booster seat at the table, but they may not be as safe as a high chair would be. Take this into consideration before making your decision.

  • Space

Highchairs are great for your little one, but they can take up a lot of space that you may need. If you’re interested in a reclining highchair or one with a tray, be warned that these do take up even more room. If you’re only look for a standard model, there are plenty of different ones to choose from. 

If you think you’d struggle to fit a highchair in your home, you can consider other options. However, it’s important to decide whether you want them to have their own place to eat from or if they should eat from the table like everyone else.

This will help you decide if you need to have a highchair or if you can consider other options like booster seats.

  • Affordability

A highchair can be up there with the price of a pram or car seat. Some parents try to find lower price options as a highchair is not used for a huge amount of time during your child’s development. You can choose to just hold your baby on your lap, but this may get more difficult as they get bigger and have more energy.

If you’re trying to save some pennies, a portable travel highchair can be cheaper as well as take up less room. Even better, they can be taken with you when you go out to be used in restaurants or at friends’ houses. 

  • Cleaning

The last thing you want to do is to make it hard for yourself when it comes to cleaning the highchair. A lot of highchairs are covered in an easy-to-wipe fabric which is great for spillages or mess. It’s also handy to look for one where the tray slides off. This means you can take it straight over to the sink to be washed up and clean your little one up whilst they’re still strapped in.

Where to buy a high chair.

If you’ve decided that a highchair is right for you and your baby, you may wonder where the best place is to buy one. First of all, you need to be sure on what you’re looking for – you can take inspiration from the ones in this blog. Once you know what you want, it makes it much easier to know where to go. 

It may be best to take a look online first to see what stores have what you’re looking for. You can then either choose to order it to your home or go out to the store to see it in real life. It’s great to look at the item in person to get a feel for the different materials and the structure of it before you buy. Many department stores with baby sections will have baby highchairs – this is a great place to go and look. 

Many parents chose to order their items online as it saves time and you can buy it closer to when it’s needed. You can check to see how good the highchair is by reading the reviews. There’s a whole range of places to buy your highchair and where you shop really depends on what you require.

high chair

How to clean a highchair.

We mentioned earlier that you should choose a highchair that is easy to clean, but now you have one, how do you clean it properly?

  1. Brush it down – Before you go and wipe the highchair or use any sprays on it, you need to get rid of loose crumbs or food. This is to prevent food getting stuck in the gaps of the highchair. If you find it easier, you can choose to use a vacuum on the highchair for convenience. 
  • Damp Cloth – Once the highchair is clean of crumbs, you can start to wipe it down with a damp cloth. Only use warm water to clean the highchair at this stage. Concentrate on areas where food may have got stuck or wedged into spaces. It’s important to focus on places like the cushion crevices and the sides of the highchair.
  • Disinfect – if your child eats from their highchair tray, you need to disinfect this every time it is used. This prevents the growth of nasty bacteria which could make your little one ill. When wiping this down, you can choose to use a disinfectant wipe, hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar. It depends on if you want to use natural cleaning products or chemical products.
  • Clean the legs and underside – It’s recommended that you do this weekly to get rid of any food you may have missed before. Use the same disinfectant types that we mentioned above to clean the other areas of the highchair. This is something that’s extremely important if your highchair is portable and has been taken to restaurants.
  • Remove cushions and straps – This only needs to be completed monthly as disinfecting the areas will keep them clean for the majority of the time. When you need a deeper clean, it’s better to remove the cushions and straps and wah them instead. Most cushions can be put into the washing machine, but you should check this before doing so. Cushions should also be air dried. The straps can be cleaned by soaking them in some hot-soapy water the leaving them to air dry afterwards.
  • Remove food from crevices – Again, this only needs to be done monthly when you notice it becoming a problem. You can do this by using a narrow hoover attachment to get in the gaps or removing the cushions and making it easier to access the crevices.

Pros and cons of a high chair

Pros and cons can depend on the type of highchair you buy. For the sake of this blog, we’ll be listing the pros and cons of a traditional highchair. All items come with cons but it’s important not to let them get in the way of the pros. As long as the cons do not compromise your child’s safety, they should not be thought about too much.

Pros:

  • Traditional highchairs tend to cost less than multi-functional ones. This is because they often don't have as many functions on them. Instead, it's a simple design just built to protect your baby around mealtimes.
  • Lightweight design that makes it easy to transport. Going to a friends house for dinner? Traditional highchairs are really light and easy to carry around - making them perfect for travelling. We would advise that you don't carry the highchair whilst you baby is still in it though.
  • Foldable design that allows you to store it away. You may want to keep your high chair for your other children or to give away to somebody else. Foldable designs make it really easy to store in cupboards or transport.
  • Wider base to ensure it doesn’t topple over. Some thinner based high chairs can be wobbled much easier than a traditional high chair. If you have more than 1 young child, it may be safer to get a high chair with a wider base - this way, there will be no risk of it getting pushed over!

Cons:

  • Very plain design. Some parents may not mind this as it's only being used for mealtimes where it will get messy anyway! However, if you're looking for something with a more modern design - it may be better to look at the newer style high chairs.
  • Doesn’t come with any extras that you may find on more modern highchairs. Again, this isn't a concern to some people. However, some functions can make it easier to clean your high chair after you're done with it. For example, modern high chairs usually come with a slide of tray - making washing up a lot quicker! Traditional high chairs are normally in one fixed position.
  • Not as versatile. Whilst many modern high chairs may come with things to amuse your little one or make life easier, a traditional high chair is just focused around keeping your baby safe whilst their eating around the table. We don't see anything wrong with this but understand that all parents are looking for different things!
  • Seat height cannot be adjusted as your baby develops. Your little one will grow quickly and as soon as you know it, they will be outgrowing their high chair! Modern high chairs can be adjusted depending on your baby's height whereas traditional ones just stay where they are. If you're planning on using the high chair for a long period of time, a modern one may suit you better.
high chair

Is a wooden highchair safe?

When highchairs were first made, they were wooden. Over the years, they have begun to come back and become more popular with parents. However, because of their older design, are they safe? 

Wooden highchairs have been reinvented and have been re-designed to be safer for your little one. They now feature things that plastic and metal highchairs have too. If you’re buying from a well-known store or online seller, your item would have been tested against the British safety standards before being used.

Just because they originate from an older design, it doesn’t mean that they will be unsafe for your little one. Make sure that you carry out your own checks on your high chair when you purchase it. If you feel that it's not safe enough for your little one, don't feel pressured to buy it. It's important to find one that's perfect for your child.

What age to stop using a high chair?

All children are different, but they can usually move from a high chair to a normal chair when they are between 18 months and 2 years old. There are 5 signs you can look for to know that your child is ready to make the move:

  • Not liking the highchair – If your child starts to become distressed or has tantrums when they are put into their highchair, it may be time to move them to something else. Their chair may feel too restrictive for them as they get older and would be more comfortable on a normal dining chair.
  • Follow rules – If your child sits comfortably each mealtime and all plates, bowls and cutlery stay on the table when they are eating, it’s a sign that they are old enough to move to a dining chair. If they can sit at the table for the amount of time that everyone else does, they’d be fine on a normal chair.
  • Learning how to unbuckle – If you notice that your little one has learned how to unbuckles their highchair straps, it is no longer a safe space for them to be kept in. To remove the safety hazard, put them onto a chair like everyone else where they won’t become interested with trying to get themselves out.
high chair
  • Following parents – Your child watched everything you do. Over time, they may begin to want to do the things that they see you do – like sitting on a normal chair. It’s great if your child expresses this as it shows they are open to change and development. You should listen to your child if they want to move as this shows they want to learn.
  • Climbing – Children love to experiment and climb onto different things. When they are able to climb onto different chairs, you should allow them to sit on one during mealtimes. By demonstrating that they can get on and off and chair, it shows that this may be a safer option now your child is growing.

We hope that out blog has helped you find out everything you need to know about highchairs. It’s important to put your baby’s safety first when purchasing a highchair 

And think about the benefits it will bring to your home. 

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